Everyone who starts meal planning experiences these three emotions: overwhelm, excitement, and exhaustion.
At first, you’re overwhelmed trying to figure out how to feed your family in a way that saves time, stress, and money on food and you know you need to meal plan.
Then, you’re super excited about how much time and money you’re going to save with meal planning. So you come up with a menu of all these meal ideas you can’t wait to try.
But, then reality sets in.
You get home after a long day (or you’ve been at home chasing after toddlers all day), so when it’s time to cook dinner you’re completely exhausted. You just don’t have the energy to be in your kitchen for more than 10 minutes.
And you want to know what makes that feeling even worse?
Having a pile of dirty dishes spilling out of your kitchen sink and countertops that you can’t even see.
So, your excitement about making dinner tonight goes all the way out of the window because you had an extremely exhausting day, and now, you’re completely overwhelmed by your messy kitchen.
…and it makes you want to rip your menu for the week up into a bajillion pieces.
But just because you want to, doesn’t mean that you get to.
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- My Simplified Approach To Meal Planning For Beginners
Because everything you’re feeling is 100% normal.
I’ve experienced this many times in my own meal planning journey. And it’s been on those hard days when my kitchen was a total hot mess, and all I wanted to do was lay in bed instead of standing over a hot stove, that I gave my husband permission to call in our pizza order.
In fact, we ordered pizza so much that they knew us by name and definitely knew our usual; 1 large pepperoni and 1 large with half pep and half-cheese.
The bill, though? $25!
And I hated watching that amount come out of our checking out because I knew I didn’t budget for it.
But, at the same time, I couldn’t see any other way to get dinner on the table (which, by the way, wasn’t clean either. I’m talking paper clutter everywhere. Ugh!)
This ONE habit helped me finally stick to a meal plan instead of ordering pizza.
It wasn’t surfing Pinterest to find new dinner ideas…
It wasn’t even going to the grocery store with a strict shopping list in my hand…
It was actually washing my dishes every single night.
I realized that when my kitchen is clean, it’s one less thing I have to worry about before I start cooking. All I have to do is get in there and get it done!
Here’s how to get into that habit:
- It starts with your mornings. If you have a dishwasher, empty it out and put your clean dishes away before you eat breakfast. Then, after breakfast, set your dirty dishes inside the dishwasher before you’re on to the next thing.
- If you stay at home with your kids, transfer all of your dirty dishes from your meals throughout the day from the kitchen table straight into the dishwasher as soon as you’re done eating on them.
- Also, anything that you take out of your cabinets, put it back right away so that your countertops can stay clean.
If you do this habitually, then when it’s time to make dinner, your kitchen sink will be clean and is ready for meal prep. And you can start cooking right away with less stress!
If you don’t have a dishwasher (like me), you can steal my easy hand-washing routine here.
But what if you get behind?
Paper products, like plates and utensils, will be your BEST friend.
Sometimes, I even pull them out just to give me a break from doing the dishes since I have to hand-wash everything.
So stock up, my friend. Because you won’t regret it—pinky promise!